Nebraska Football: (Lack of) missed tackles tells the defensive tale

Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nebraska football team got its first win over an FBS team in almost a year. There are a ton of reasons why the Huskers were able to pull off the victory. Certainly, defense is right at the top of the list, but that still leaves the question, “why was the defense suddenly better?”

The Nebraska football team might have been covering better. They might have been hitting their gaps better too. But what was undeniable for the Cornhuskers on Saturday night is that they were tackling better than they have in quite some time.

According to PFF, the Huskers missed a grand total of six tackles against the Hoosiers. Three of those came from Quinton Newsome, who admittedly had a bit of a tough game. But there’s still a ton of reason to have optimism when you consider that means the rest of the team had all of three tackles missed.

Compare that to their performance against Oklahoma. Wanna know the biggest reason they gave up 49 points? The 18 missed tackles certainly played a role. Against North Dakota, they missed 15 tackles. Against Northwestern? 14. The one outlier here is in their loss to Georgia Southern PFF says the Nebraska football team missed only eight tackles.

Still, the fact that the Huskers had only six costly mistakes stands tall when it comes to a defensive turnaround that fans were hoping for, but few could realistically expect with a brand new defensive coordinator and just two weeks to practice.

Nebraska football shows real improvement

When looking at the last time the Huskers had this few tackles, it shows. The last time they had only had six missed tackles was last year’s 52-7 win over the Fordham Rams.

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To be clear, sound tackling isn’t the end all and be all, as the Georgia Southern game shows. However, with the staff talking about simplifying the defense combined with more tackling in practice, it’s clear the Nebraska football team used that formula to great effect.